Linking Turns: B.C. plane crash long-read, profiling skiing’s most famous teen and Powder’s former editor

Midwest Ski Journal likes to highlight a few pieces of skiing internet worth your time in Linking Turns. Find the best, most important, least important and otherwise links here each week.

This week we see the New York Times profile freeskiing’s most famous teenager before we re-read a Powder Magazine column from its former editor.

Finally, we read one of the most remarkable mountain stories we’ve ever read about a ski guide who survived a plane crash in the British Columbia mountainous wilderness.

TURN 1: This 14-Year-Old Ski Daredevil Is Already a Pro, and Trying Not to Scare His Parents (Bill Pennington/New York Times)

The skiing world has stood in awe of the rise of Kai Jones into the freeskiing world, and this week the Teton teen got the New York Times treatment.

Yes, the paper of record traveled to Jackson to talk to Jones, the son of the co-founder of Teton Gravity Research. His story has played out in TGR films and on social media over the last couple years, but the Times discussed with him how fame has played a role in his life and what is next. They even got skiing great Tanner Hall on the phone to discuss being young and famous in the ski game.

It’s a fantastic piece, including this excellent glimpse into Jones’s life:

I’ve had friends say: ‘You only have what you have because of your dad,’” he said. “I credit my dad with everything and he gave me this door to walk through, but I also worked my butt off every single day. I get up before the sun rises to head to the mountain, and I train year-round. I’ve probably done 5,000 back flips.

These days, that conversation has ended because I’m skiing lines that pros are skiing and doing the same tricks as them.

Kai Jones, from Bill Pennington/The New York Times

TURN 2: Skiing Reminds Us What We’re Capable Of (Sierra Shafer/Powder Magazine)

First of all, pour one out for Powder Magazine, which announced it would cease publication last year. I would put my 401K on the fact that it will be back in some form. There’s too much love for it and too many people who are emotionally invested in the brand to not resurrect it at some point. For now, however, it hangs in limbo, and we’re all worse off for it.

Before its closure, Sierra Shafer was the Editor-in-Chief of the classic rag and she penned this piece about a young girl jumping off a cliff. It’s a simple structure that Shafer uses to explain why skiing can be so impactful for anyone, especially young people. I’ve had this one bookmarked for a while. It’s always a pleasure and a good reminder.

There’s no one way to do it, but all skiers share a common foundation: however you ski, wherever you do it, and whether it’s five days or 50, we continually face new challenges and meet them. We battle inside voices and outside pressures that lead us to doubt who we are. But in the mountains, we escape to a place where skiing reminds us what we’re capable of.

Sierra Shafer/Powder Magazine

TURN 3: How One Man Survived a Plane Crash and 5 Days in the Snowy Canadian Wilderness—and Went On to Help Shape the Modern Ski Industry (Cassidy Randall/Time Magazine)

Here’s your long read of this edition of Linking Turns and it’s an absolute stunner.

Cassidy Randall recalls the remarkable and unbelievable story of John Gow, who survived a plane crash in the interior British Columbia mountain wilderness and his impossible 5-day journey back to civilization from the scene of the crash.

The piece both includes detailed accounts of the crash and a biography of Gow’s time in the snow business. Randall elegantly ties Gow’s career built on deep snow to that same deep snow that almost killed him after he survived the crash.

The writing is beautiful and the story is gripping. Awesome work from Time Magazine.

When he came to this time, he pushed away the thought of Royle’s death, trying to focus his numbed mind. He was the sole survivor in a snow-encased wilderness, laughably far from any human help. He rummaged through the wreck in search of solutions. The radio was destroyed. There were no flares to be found, no available fuel for a fire for signal smoke. Even if people were searching for him, no one would ever see the crash site beneath the thick ceiling of forest. He had no food, no shelter from the temperatures that even in springtime plunged the nights well below freezing.

Cassidy Randall/Time Magazine

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